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Implementing Responsible Research and Innovation in the Human Brain Project

26 April 2023

Attention to ethical and societal issues have been an important and integral part of the Human Brain Project. From the very beginning in 2013 until today. Over the years, researchers from the social sciences and the humanities have developed governance structures and mechanisms to integrate responsible research and innovation (RRI) practices across the project. But RRI and ethical and philosophical reflection has also been an important part of the research in the Human Brain Project. Where the ethics & society team has contributed with conceptual and empirical methods to identify, reflect, and manage the ethical and social issues raised by brain research, its outputs, and applications; and develop and implement activities across the project.

The results are visible in governance structures across the project, in scientific publications, online training modules and toolkits both for ethical and societal reflection, and how to include gender and diversity in research teams and themes. But results don’t always capture the process. To ensure we share our work in a sustainable and accessible format, the Ethics & Society team have published a collection of essays, edited by Lise Bitsch, who has led the Human Brain Project’s work package on Responsible Research and Innovation, where much of this work has had a home in the last phase of the project. 

The essays are written by members of the Ethics & Society team, who describe and reflect on their work. In the process, they offer key findings, reflection points, and lessons learned. But responsible research and innovation is not an isolated practice. Over the years, we have engaged with a community of scholars. To ensure that their perspective is represented, we have invited contributions from some of our international colleagues, including Rene von Schomberg (Aachen University), Judy Illes (Neuroethics Canada) and Karen Rommelfanger (Institute of Neurhoethics Think and Do Tank). Our ambition is that this format will allow different stakeholder communities to access and learn from our work.   

Download the collection of essays: 
Bitsch, Lise, Salles, Arleen, Evers, Kathinka, et al. (2023). Ethics and Society in Brain Research: Implementing Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in the Human Brain Project (HBP). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7736402